‘Bayanihan 3’ bills filed, seen to revive economy
TO provide additional mechanisms to accelerate economic recovery, the leadership of the House of Representatives seeks the passage of P420 billion “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act” or the Bayanihan 3.
Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo said they filed House Bill (HB) 8628 to further help stimulate the country’s economy that has crawled into recession.
Quimbo believes the Bayanihan 3 “is a big help to avoid stagflation,” which she defines as the combination of a stagnant economic output and rising inflation. The lawmaker added that stagflation arises when the country has both stagnation or economic contraction and unemployment and inflation.
Velasco said the Bayanihan to Heal As One and Bayanihan to Recover As One were “not sufficient for the genuine economic recovery of the country.”
THE breakdown of the proposed P420-billion appropriation under Bayanihan 3 is as follows:
P52 billion for subsidies to small business for wages and other worker-related expenses;
P100 billion for the capacity-building of businesses in “critically-impacted” sectors;
P108 billion for additional social amelioration to impacted households through programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development;
P70 billion for the provision of assistance and capacity-building to farmers, livestock producers and fishermen;
P30 billion for the implementation of unemployment assistance and cash-for-work programs under the Department of Labor and Employment;
P30 billion for Internet allowance to primary, secondary and tertiary students and teachers in public and private educational institutions;
P5 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas. These include the repair, reconstruction and/or construction of flood control works, roads, bridges, public buildings and other damaged public works, “to be distributed proportionately” among provinces and cities affected; and
P25 billion to the Department of Health for the procurement of Covid-19 medication and vaccines and to finance logistics, information awareness campaigns and other related operational expenses.
CITING recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Velasco said that the Philippine economy contracted by 9.5 percent overall in 2020, the worst performance in the nation’s post-war history.
This contraction, he added, is significantly deeper than the predicted contraction of 4.5 percent to 6.6 percent, which became the basis of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) for the 2021 National Expenditure Program.
“Given that actual economic output in 2020 was far below what was assumed for budget purposes, and further losses may still be incurred as the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to prevail well into the current fiscal year, an additional economic stimulus package is needed to help the government meet its recovery targets for the year,” Velasco pointed out.
The lawmaker added that “uncertainty is the primary effect this pandemic has on every aspect of our lives.”
Faced with continued risk and uncertainty, Velasco said household consumption has significantly declined, contributing as much as 5.7 percent to the total 9.5 percent annual reduction in output in 2020.
“Government must therefore take the lead to promote business and consumer confidence and social welfare. Increased, well-targeted spending is a vital step to achieving these goals,” Velasco said.
HB 8628 is the third “Bayanihan” (solidarity) 3 proposal in the lower chamber. One of the proposals includes the P247-billion “Bayanihan to Rebuild as One Act” (HB 8059) forwarded by Majority Leader Martin G. Romualdez, Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda and Aambis-Owa Rep. Sharon S. Garin.